Nov 4, 2008

Neo-typologisms...

Here are the entries, and I have to tell you... I am impressed.
Sadly, the
Feist tickets were recently traded on Craigslist for a 1972 issue of Mayfair.

JS






From David W. Henderson:

comadose (adj.)
1. The quantity of a drug required to put somebody to sleep.

postpramdial (adj.)
1. After exiting a stroller.

domestimate (v)
1. To seek a partner, specifically for the purposes of shacking up, and breeding.

cacaphony (n)
1. A piece of shit, formed of multiple colours or textures of fecal matter.

tobiggan (n)
1. A very large sled.

pornucopia (n)
1. An abundance of, or plentiful supply of smut.

afropos (adj.)
1. Of a nature pertinent to black people.

ventriloquest (n)
1. An epic search for Charlie McCarthy.

anomany (n)
1. Many things all considered strange or unusual.

Afflecktation (n)
1. An attempt to assume or exhibit unusual behaviours, such as dating Gweneth
Paltrow or Jennifer Lopez; or appearing in crappy films with Matt Damon.

leximon (n)
1. A Jamaican dictionary

sandatorium (n)
1. A place for crazy children to play with toy trucks.

fornacrate (v)
1. To have sex inside a large box.

flagellatte (n)
1. A coffee with extra whipped topping.

stagmata (n)
1. Scars or body markings (esp those on hands or feet) resulting from events at
a bachelor party.

goneads (n, pl.)
1. Removed testicles.

mashcarpone (n)
1. Soft cheese made in a mobile army surgical hospital.

helter-top (n)
1. A (esp female) serial killer's garment, covering the upper chest.

soaphisticate (n)
1. A worldly-wise, and clean, person.

artistocrat (n)
1. A person who inherits wealth, and is therefore enabled to produce art
regardless of talent, without the distraction of working for a living.
2. An guy with a paint brush and easel walks into a talent agency...



From Wendy Macpherson:

Attirude (n)
1. Typical Charme Parisienne




From Robert Byron Pyke:


Haloween
(n)
1. Dressing up as red guy/ blue guy and sitting in your basement playing Halo instead of going out for Halloween or otherwise interacting with humanity

allcohol (n)
1. what you drank last night consisting of a cocktails, beer , wine, port, and Dear God...Rye.

bangover (n)
1. next morning regretful shameful feeling after having one night stand. Often related to Allcohol.

mamory (n)
1. recalling a great pair of ya-yas

sunconscious (n)
1. that momentary state of brain freeze when you accidentally stare straight in to the sun.



From John Richard Rose:

zeitfeist
(n)
1. the spirit, attitude, or general outlook of a specific time or period, esp. as it is reflected in annoyingly catchy pop songs.

barchitect (n)
1. a person who designs dog houses.

morasses (n)
1. a slowly developing morass.



From Victoria Taylor

gelatio (n)
1. an oral act that achieves heightened pleasure through the consumption of frozen confections.
2. place at Church and Wellesley that sells Italian treats.


From Kenneth Murray:

belt curve (n)
1. The adjustment of clothing in order to present one's physique in closer relation to the "average"

shenanigains (n)
1. Increase in social status resulting from dubious behaviour.

deependable (adj.)
1. Always willing to do something drastic, when suggested, to liven things up at a party. "He's totally deependable. Remember that time he threw himself down the stairs?"



From the editor:

consumptin (v)
1. ingesting something freely, even though you're not quite sure what it is.

pist-coital (adj.)
1. describing an intoxicated sex act that is begun against all odds, then goes on way too long, due to unpredictable male reaction to allcohol. Compare: past-coital.
See also: whisky dick, cottage cock.

afterbourner (n)
1. device introduced to an action movie that provides extra thrust; usually ultra-fast cutting and very loud, drawn-out fight scenes.

gentripfication (n)
1. the process of renewing and rebuilding a reasonably eligible bachelor into a viable husband.

Bonomatopoeia (n)
1. singer who prefers the sound of his political statements to his music.

transbender (adj.)
1. being intoxicated to such a level as to eschew traditional gender boundaries and corresponding sexual norms.
(e.g. Due to the consumptin of allcohol, Chris went on a transbender and woke up with stagmata and a deeply embarrassing bangover.)

petrospect (n)
1. a rumination of past gas prices.
esp. in petrospect: wishing you had gassed up three days ago, when the price was 5 cents less per litre.

Poogle (n)
1. crossbred dog of questionable lineage.
2. search engine that looks for old tennis balls.
Compare Poogol and Poogolplex: an impossibly large number of dogs.

pepilepsy (n)
1. Neurological disorder that affects cheerleaders who get too caught up in the game.
2. Unprovoked seizures that result from eating too many mint patties.

Oct 21, 2008

On the Seventh Day of Christmas... he rested.









Holiday Quiz:


  1. When someone refers to Christmas "Cheer", do you immediately think "cold water cycle"?
  2. When you sit down to your turkey dinner, do you start fretting about all the silverware that will have to be hand-washed in a lukewarm sink full of floating giblets?
  3. After unwrapping your gifts, do you find reasons to lock yourself in the bathroom for 60 minutes at a time?
If you answered "yes" to any of the above, chances are you could be suffering from a condition known as Holiday Work-Avoidance Syndrome.

Christmas Day is the definition of bittersweet. For every Lee Valley tool you receive, there is a toy to be assembled. For every friend who drops in for a beer, there is an incontinent great-aunt who smells like Cinnamon Air-Wick. For every Xbox game, there is a sweater so garish it would make Bill Cosby puke.

And let's get back to that whole not-using-the-dishwasher thing. Men of Canada, it is time for a private-members bill that would ban all dishes and silverware that need to be "hand-washed". And that goes for women's clothing, too. Ladies, the 19th century called. They want their quaintness back. Can we please dispense with this manual-labour nonsense? Take a minute and savour the estrogen-friendly utopia you live in; where men can actually be convinced to wash anything at all. Because when you ask us to stoop to sub-Amish levels of homemaking, you only make it easier for us drop everything and try our luck as a traveling carny.

So we all agree that despite the stuffing, mulled wine and Toblerone, Christmas can be a whole lot of work - actually, you can skip the mulled wine, now that I think about it. There's a way to get through it, though - even if you can't enjoy your stocking full of tall-boys just yet. It's all about doing relatively easy jobs that nobody thought of first.

Example: the kids are up at 5:30, and since Shopper's Drug Mart no longer carries chloroform, you've got a decision to make. Are you the guy who sleeps in, and is despised for the rest of the day by a sleep-deprived wife? Or are you the guy who bites the bullet and selflessly agrees to "take care of the kids" - even though the sun hasn't risen yet and you stayed up 'til 3AM to watch "It's a Wonderful Wife" and "Miracle on 42 DDDs" on pay-per-view? This should be a no-brainer. Keeping kids happy on Christmas morning is about as challenging as keeping dogs happy at a butcher store full of fire-hydrants.

Be pro-active. Kids too loud? Cram them full of hot chocolate and candy canes, then flake out on the couch while they watch Toopy and Binoo's Holiday Hallucination. In a pinch, let them unwrap one gift. If Mom asks about this, feign ignorance. "Oh yeah, like I would let them open a gift before Gam Gam got here. Right." Above all, don't let anyone forget that you were the guy who took one for the team.

If you can't bear the thought of an early morning - and who can blame you - set your sights a little later. Volunteer to make breakfast. The kids will eat anything (which is to say, nothing) and if your family is coming over, you usually can't miss with something seasonal and sophisticated, like peppermint tea and croissants - which you surreptitiously bought the day before, right? Get creative, because creative is memorable. Bake some of those cinnamon buns that come in a tube. Squeeze some fresh OJ. If your mother-in-law is English, get your hands on some scones and Marmite (a British delicacy made by simmering yeast, blood sausage and rugby balls).

Do some research, but don't overlook the obvious. If you have some Tim Horton's crack-heads in the crowd, you might want to make a road trip for a crate of Timmy's insulin-busting fat-rings and a 75 oz. double-double for everyone. Most importantly, keep telling everyone within earshot, "Oh, it's the least I could do. What with you guys doing dinner and all!". Hey, breakfast is a cake-walk compared with dinner, and if you steer clear of vendetta-worthy junk like Quaker Harvest Crunch and prune juice, you might actually improve everyone's morning and mitigate the fact that there are seven kids in the next room smashing each other's skulls with Bratz and Bionicles.

Remember, this is not about avoiding work. It's about choosing tolerable tasks over humiliating drudgery. There is nothing worse than sitting down to your new Blu-Ray copy of GoodFellas, just as your mother comes in and asks if you could 'help in the kitchen'. 'Help', in case you were unaware, is code for peeling 700 potatoes into the sink while listening to five women discuss which No-Frills has the cheapest head-cheese. Wouldn't you rather be in the basement workshop; sipping on a cold one while fixing the wooden salad spoon you just broke "accidentally"?

Better yet, be The Driver. There's always somebody or some thing that needs to be dropped off and picked up. The further away, the better. In fact, being designated driver on Christmas night is one of the best gigs you can land. Bring along some CDs and take your time. After all, we want to get there in one piece. Think about it. Being the driver means:

a) You're not in a house full of electronic toys that makes NORAD look like a nativity scene.
b) You're not listening to Gampa's perennial tale of having his leg amputated in the Crimean War.
and...
c) You can cement your title of World's Coolest Uncle by taking your nephew out and doing donuts in the nearest deserted parking lot.

Whatever you plan is, remember: there is nothing... absolutely nothing, that is as crappy as Cleaning Up After Christmas Dinner. The grease; the clattering; the endless washing, drying and archiving of all those precious saucers in their Bone China Bunker for the next 364 days. (It's times like these that make you wish you were an ER doctor - on the remote chance that you might be paged to perform an emergency tracheotomy with a Bic pen.)

You want a Christmas Wish? Here's mine: The kids are strapped down to the couch, watching High School Musical VIII: Troy Gets Beat Up in Shop Class. The dining room table is piled with 27 kinds of Chinese food, plastic spoons, chopsticks, and a Great Wall of Chinet. There is a hottub-sized, industrial-strength Blue Bin in the kitchen for throwing away everything. My wife is doing the world's largest Sudoku in the den with her Mom and aunts. And the men are fighting over whether we are going to watch Casino Royale or The Dirty Dozen on the new 50" Aquos, as I tap the keg of Steam Whistle that's been sitting in a bucket of ice all day.

Gloria in excelcis.

Christmas Lists - The Chill Edition

In honour of the first sorta-snowfall today, I thought I'd fire out a sneak-peek at December's two Chill magazine lists.





Top excuses not to shovel your driveway

  1. Sparks created by scraping metal may contribute to global warming.
  2. If I sprinkle bones and arrowheads on the snow, archaeologists may dig it up for me.
  3. Maintaining a thick, crusty layer of ice is the best way to flaunt four-wheel-drive capability of my car.
  4. Infinitesimal possibility that surface ice will form a convex lens that will melt the snow beneath it.
  5. You call it an unshovelled driveway. I call it nature unspoiled, man.
  6. Snow is insulating, and the removal of insulation should only be done by professionals.
  7. Shoveling my own driveway takes jobs away from ordinary Canadians.
  8. By instead leaving a snow-angel, I increase the chances that real angels will arrive and contribute to my nativity scene.

Top reasons to give for returning gifts
  1. Needed more money to immunize children in Africa.
  2. I actually wear an extra-Medium.
  3. Isn't there enough clutter in the world?
  4. By getting some cash back now, I have more money to spend on your gift.
  5. Turns out, I'm allergic to cheap leather.
  6. Returning? No, I just have trouble meeting people.
  7. I already have Blue Planet. I needed Jackass 3 to complete the set.

Guys' Christmas Shopping Guide.

First things first. 

Can we all agree to make 2008 The Year We Make Greeting Cards History? For the price of a cup of coffee, you will be able to give someone... a cup of coffee! You know why? Because you won't be spending the month of December sweating dozens of over-priced greeting cards that have sub-Bazooka Joe humour levels.

And don't get me started on thank-you cards. Thank you cards exist for one reason, and one reason only: punishing eleven-year-olds who got more stuff than you. Here's the deal: I buy you a gift, you buy me a gift. It's over.

No cards. No notes. Whether this exchange occurs on Christmas, Arbor Day, or the third Sunday after the New Moon on Monday, we both silently agree that we could have bought better stuff for ourselves, and let it go.

So where were we? Oh yeah, Christmas gifts for you and yours.

Presents have never been my specialty. It is safe to say that my obituary will not include the words, "gift-giver" alongside "ballbuster". When I was fifteen, I accidentally discovered my Dad's stash... not of porn - that was much easier to find. What I unearthed below the bathroom sink and behind the Drano, was Dad's Graveyard of Crap Gifts I'd given him over the years (i.e. five progressively dustier bottles of English Leather). I can totally understand that he didn't want to throw them into the garbage - he obviously appreciated the gesture and didn't want to hurt my feelings. But I now appreciate that he didn't want to smell like the trunk of a '61 Vauxhall, either.

But buying a gift for a man is easy. You can't really go wrong. Women are a little different... in much the same way that a Scotch Bonnet pepper is different than say, Spicy Velveeta Dip. You want proof? I once bought my mom a potted plant for Mothers Day. I was in such a rush to buy anything, I didn't realize it was plastic... until I saw her face as I handed it over. It was like giving a toddler a chocolate-covered scorpion - a grateful smile touched her eyes, then slowly morphed into a grimace of restrained horror.

This was my first foray into the delicate world of What Women Actually Want. The funny thing is, I believe that a plastic plant is a completely logical (read: male) way of showing everlasting love for a woman. What exactly is the message of fresh-cut flowers? "Here, honey. This embarrassingly overpriced bouquet represents my love for you: fresh and fragrant the moment I need to impress you, but now wilting, and completely dead by Thursday."

When dealing with women, a man soon learns to ignore "logic". Spock may have been the smartest, but Kirk got the babes; green or otherwise.

So the question remains. What are you going to buy your girl? As stupid as this sounds, you should just ask her. Personally, I dig surprises; but my understanding is that most women don't. Any guy who has ever shown up at his wife's office on Valentine's Day dressed in a leotard with a red heart painted on his face can attest to this... oh yeah, like I'm the only one.

If you don't feel right telling your significant other that you've completely and utterly given up, ask her best friend. The best-friend will agree to give it some thought. She will then wait a respectable six or seven picoseconds and phone your girlfriend to ask her why you are such a clueless loser. The girlfriend then gets back to you, and, whammo! You're done. If your better-half has no friends, ask her mom; ask her co-workers; ask that guy she has drinks with on Friday nights when you're out of town... okay, maybe not him. He's probably busy.

At the very least, ask the light-of-your-life what price range she's comfortable with. (Survival tip: always add 30% to this figure.) On a lark, I've just Googled: "girlfriend, christmas gift, $100". Guess what? Ideas. Tons of ideas. You think the internet exists to not part you with your money? The best things in life are free, for everything else there's PayPal.

Now, if you absolutely insist on doing it the hard way, it helps to know what not to do. (A good rule-of-thumb is to ask your best friend, then do the opposite.)

  • Don't... buy her "vintage" lingerie from eBay.
  • Don't... buy an expensive combo gift that "doubles as a birthday present" - unless you plan on sleeping alone on her birthday.
  • Don't... buy her a DVD that you can't stand. How many times do you think you can fake it through 'Pride and Sensibility', starring Dame Gwynyth Bonham Kleenex?
  • Don't... buy her a ring that isn't an engagement ring. Are you seriously going to enquire about her ring size, then show up with that piece of quartz you saw her glancing at in Wasaga Beach?
  • Don't... buy her a gift certificate to anything with the words "Cajun", "Extreme" or "Pot-Limit". In fact, if you - as a male - register any interest in the gift, you're already in trouble.
And don't... I repeat, do not buy her a gym membership or exercise equipment. Even if she pleaded with you, e-mailed to remind you, and then stapled a SuperFitness brochure to your forehead. This is her war - and you don't want any part of it, big guy.

Finally, if you plan on taking her to a Swiss Chalet, it better be in Switzerland, Diamond Jim.

Here's a Bonus Tip: Buy another gift. This one should be around $30 and it's bought in case she out-spent you. It also helps take the sting out of a main gift that went over like a dutch oven. Don't put it under the tree! Keep it hidden. This is your Get Out of Jail card if you ignored my advice and got her a bulk tin of Slim Fast or Call of Duty VII: Die, Commie, Die!

So now you're saying, okay smart-guy. You know so much. What are you buying your wife this year? Answer: I have no freakin' clue. Off the top of my head, I'd say something personal. It's way better to give something cheap and thoughtful, than something expensive and cliched. Just bump it up a little higher than "macaroni with gold spray-paint" and you're on your way. Blow up and frame that photo she likes... Get her a first edition of her favorite book... Take her to that B&B she mentioned in the spring. If you can show her that you paid attention to one single, solitary thing she has said over the past calendar year, you're on the on-ramp to Mistletoe City.

The only exception to the "cliches no good" rule is... a puppy. If you've absolutely hit the wall; if you're frozen like a deer in headlights that's been dunked in liquid nitrogen, you can always cough up a cool 1700 bucks and buy her a mini-Cujo. Say what you want, puppies are Kryptonite. (It's just that the side-effects of this Kryptonite isotope are late-night whining and urine-scented carpets.)

And, finally, what if it's 5PM on December 24th and your reading this in line at the Beer Store? Well, buddy... unless your gal likes exotic microbrews, you're up the Creemore; because there's only one thing left that could possibly keep you out of the soup kitchen tomorrow night... Proposing.

And don't bother sending me a thank-you card when she says yes.

Chill Article - Look But Don't Touch Football

(Note: for those of you who don't do that whole free magazine thing, this is your chance to have a peek at the beer-centric prose available in Chill... worth every penny, I say.)


I've never been what you'd call a natural athlete (people tell me I have my mother's arms). When I played "skins" in high school, I was often mistaken for the parallel bars. In football, I played drawback, you dig?

Me playing football is like my mom competing in a freestyle rap battle. It's theoretically possible, but it's sure not going to be pretty. The thing is, when a guy of my… vintage goes out there looking for a team sport, it has to be social, fun, and—most importantly—fracture-free. This is where touch football comes in.

Like many American pastimes, touch football is making huge inroads in Canada. Like dodge ball, it has a quirky, after-school vibe that people enjoy. Unlike dodge ball, injuries you sustain can be bragged about during a job interview. "Yes, Mr. Sale. We are very impressed with your CV, but that red welt on your forehead leads us to believe you recently got pwned by a thirteen-year-old girl."

Now since the words "touch" and "football" are usually not in my vocabulary—unless accompanied by the words "ten-foot pole"—I had to start basically from scratch.

Good news #1: you don't have to be some 'roided masochist to play touch football. Try this test: stand in the middle of your living room with your arms out in front of you, squat until your bum is resting on your heels. If you can do this without the neighbours wondering why you're playing Yahtzee, you're halfway there.

And don't feel bad if you're not quite Tom Brady's stunt-double. Football is filled with XXXL guys who not only survive, but thrive on their girth. (This is not an excuse to continue your strict regimen of bacon-stuffed cheese sticks with gravy chasers, but at least you've got a chance at instilling something other than pity in the opposing team.) Hey, it may be "touch" football, but there's no arguing with 280 pounds of large, sweaty dude headed toward an open receiver. And try getting on a beach volleyball team with a nickname like Landfill.

Make sure you buy a good pair of running shoes. Your flip-flops are not going to cut it. Some leagues want you to have rubber cleats, while others may be okay with bare feet and ankle-bracelets. Wherever you go, know what the gear requirements are.

Good news, part deux: finding a league is actually pretty easy (provided you don't live in, say, the outskirts of Pickle Lake). You know that whole interweb thingy? If you can't figure out how to Google a local gridiron, you're probably not ready for something as complicated as a "two-point conversion". Try checking out www.ontariofootballalliance.ca. That should set you straight.

If you're a loner, feel free to roll the dice, hoping for a vacancy on a team crammed with fun athletic dudes who are on a first-name basis with the Tecate girls. But your best bet is to cajole the usual suspects at your next BBQ and join a league. The easily kept promise of a post-game pitcher (on you) should do the trick. If not, you might mention this to the guys: women are getting in on the act.

What's that, you say? A co-ed sport with the word "touch" in it? Um... yes. Word to the wise, though: although there is no maximum amount of time you're "allowed" to touch the opposing ball-carrier, Velcro-handed rushers more often than not end up with two black eyes and a restraining order. Black eyes if they're lucky. Sal Granata, at the Ultimate Touch Football League in Toronto says that although women make up a minority of the players, you'd be best not to underestimate them. In Sal's words, "The guys really respect the ladies, because if they don't, 6 points will be scored against them."

So you and your buddies now have a team. Way to go, Rudy. Time for a team name. The UTFL have some beauts: The Boilermakers, The Spitting Llamas and - no joke - The MILF Hunters and the The Mighty Cocks. Memo to self: Wife stays home on game night.

Surprisingly, the UTFL only have one team called the Rough Riders, which, as a Canadian fan, I find a little unpatriotic. (I was always hoping the CFL would bump it up to three. The Fredricton Ruffryders, maybe?)

Let's talk rules. The rules are—well, they're a little messed-up is what they are. Nobody seems to agree on anything. Meaghan Davis, the Touch Program Coordinator at Football Canada tells me that Flag football is played five-on-five or seven-on-seven, while Touch sticks to seven-on-seven. In Touch, the rules are being updated. In Flag, they're in process. In my local league, it's six-on-six. Who cares? You're out there to have fun, not jury a trial. Play one-on-one, if that's your bag. Be the first team in Ontario where each side is a prime number greater than 50!

The basic thrust is this: Two opposing teams looking to score the most points. The pigskin is snapped to a quarterback, or merely picked up. The ball-bearer now has about seven seconds to attempt a pass — or run it himself. (That's the whole "one steamboat, two steamboat" thing—it comes from an aquatic version of the game played exclusively by riverboat gamblers. Actually I have no idea where this comes from.)

Remember, it's mostly a passing game, so don't worry about spending inordinate amounts of time studying a chalkboard that looks like tic-tac-toe for Vulcans. Just find someone who's open and let it fly. (This is the part where I'd be looking for a league that is cool with Nerf. Fun's fun, but I don't want my body to look like an anger-management group was using me as a CPR dummy.)

Take it to the end zone and spike that mother. If you absolutely can't help yourself, you may indulge in one – and only one – "stir-the-pot-Cuba-Gooding-Jr"—type move. Then, rip off your jersey and throw it to that kid drinking a Coke over there.



Tips:

If—as a quarterback—you can't decide between "Hike!" or "Hut hut hut!", just ask for the ball; politely but firmly.

Bicycle tires are generally sub-standard for running drills.

If a teammate tells you to "Go long!" always respond with "That's what she said."

The patting of a teammate's butt after a good play should never last longer than 0.02 seconds. In fact, I propose eliminating this altogether.

Never play any team wearing matching butcher's aprons.

When choosing a team name, obscure wild animals are a good idea (e.g. the Mimico Marmosets, the Shelbyville Shadflies, the New Liskeard Narwhals... etc.)

Unless you're really okay with giggles, try to avoid Trojans or Titans as a team name.

Oct 20, 2008

Apple Porn.

Mmmmm... extruded aluminium...

I realize there's no zealot like a convert, but this is a good example of why Apple is winning.

Don't get me wrong. I am not buying this laptop. This laptop costs way too much. It is made solely for those who spend more than 80 minutes a day in Starbucks while wearing a knitted cap with earflaps.

But here's the question... When was the last time any PC maker showed this much pride in a product. Better yet, when was the last time any PC company spent more than 15 minutes thinking about the concept of marketing?

Oct 14, 2008

Bad Parenting 104

Here’s a rule I forget twice as often as I remember:

If you ever feel compelled to bribe a child with a future reward, don’t.

Thursday might as well be next year.

Case study:
Your son is bumming out at bed-time. Probably because he is overtired, was not allowed to play Wii Bowling at 7:45 and was also not allowed to take his camera with him to bed (don’t ask).

Do you:

a) Give in.


b) Let him stew on it, knowing he will be asleep in seven minutes and will forget all by morning.


c) Tell him that all his problems are trivial, because you’re taking him out of school on Thursday so that you can bowl for real!


Well, it ain’t (c), brother.

Actual response:
“You mean tonight?”
“No. Thursday.”
“Tomorrow?"
“No. Thursday.”
(Long silence, followed by deep sigh and deeper moping.)

Congratulations, Dad. Not only have you worsened the situation, you have now invalidated all praise you might have received on Thursday morning.

Bowling on Thursday is now a gutter ball... unless we go to McDonald's!

P.S. Here's the Wii Bowling trick.

Sep 19, 2008

Forty? Pounder!













Top Ten revelations about becoming forty:
  1. Music in 1968 was really good -- Hey Jude, Jumping Jack Flash, and REALLY bad -- Yummy Yummy Yummy, Hurdy Gurdy Man.*)
  2. 40 is the new 30 (in much the same way Cedric the Entertainer is the new Richard Pryor).
  3. Buying a 40-pounder of booze is still out of the question. It used to be because of the money. Now it's about the expiry date.
  4. That sound your knees make when you get out of bed is not breaking bones, but it ain't good.
  5. Ear hair. Yeah... that's fair.
  6. Apparently turning 50 is worse. I'm okay with that.
  7. In 1968, you couldn't put a man on the moon. In 2008... you can't put a man on the moon. Godspeed, John Glenn.
  8. I am exactly 25 years from my kids realizing how young I was 'back then'. There will still be no hover-cars.
  9. Most prized birthday present? Sleeping 'til 8:30 on Sunday. By a long-shot.
  10. Me at 40 definitely beats two of me at 20.
*   "90% of everything is crap" - Gene Roddenberry

Sep 15, 2008

Please, no more...

... superheroes who can stop a bus with their bare hands without being pushed backwards (on their no-tread booties, no less.)

"Collectors Edition" magazines. I'm supposed to keep People's Best (and Worst) Dressed in a vacuum-sealed bat-cave, in case there's a Hannah Montana shortage in the future?

correcting me when I use 'I' instead of 'me' as the object of the verb. There's a good reason you have mastered the various uses of the first person, Spanky. It's because you are alone most of the time.

antioxidants. What did oxygen ever do to you?

"lol". A simple "nice" says it all. If you send me a topless shot from the UK Sun, I don't reply with "ptik" (pup-tent in khakis) do I?

...loot bags. I need my kids fighting about the ownership of candy they're not supposed to be eating like I need pinata-themed underwear.

...Tudors. Any show that doesn't portray Henry VIII as a fat, bearded ponce, holding a turkey drumstick is obviously not based on historical fact.

...Legend. This is the most embarrassingly undead album ever. To call this cult collection 'repetitive' and 'unwelcome' is an insult to Barney. The reggae equivalent of cranking Dark Side of the Moon - in its entirety - at every party, pub and outdoor event of the year. Owners of this album should have their citizenships revoked, sent to Jamaica, and forced to busk Lynyrd Skynyrd songs after midnight in Kingston.  Say what you want about Tupac, he at least releases new shit every six months or so. Get up, Stand up, Change the f*cking disc.

Aug 28, 2008

Film look for video.









To achieve a fairly good-looking facsimile of film (from video footage) in Final Cut Pro, do the following:

  1. Colour-correct your existing clip with the 3-way CC filter.
  2. Add de-interlace filter (upper/odd) to this clip.
  3. Duplicate the clip and place it above.
  4. In the new layer, change the field dominance to (lower/even)
  5. Reduce opacity of top layer to about 50% (in Motion tab)
  6. From Video Filters, choose Glow effect, Bloom for slight gauze effect.
  7. Set Amount to about 6, Brightness to 70, Threshold to 75.
  8. Re-colour-correct both layers.
  9. Add small amount of Gaussian Noise to lower layer (in Screen mode), mix to taste.
  10. Render.
  11. Bask in glory of your genius and hide from the DOP, whose work you just cocked up.
Note, De-interlace gives you the pseudo-flicker; everything else gives you the tonality.



Aug 25, 2008

Bad Parenting 103

This isn't even topical since I have done it before, it's just that it was reinforced on Sunday because I did it in front of my wife. 

I crossed the line that separates parent from babysitter. The line that separates Dr. Spock from Doc Oc. 

I have given both of my children gum from the gum machine at No Frills.

I tried to pretend that it was a 'special treat' for Ryan's last day of soccer, when we all knew it was to keep them quiet. I did it so they would sit in their respective carts and chillax while Michelle and I rounded up our (mostly) nutritious week's supply. Ryan chewed his. Jillian ate hers whole. And Michelle tentatively chewed the extra one that Dubble Bubble cursed us with... for about 14 seconds before she glued it to the grocery list.

On the bright side, the kids were quiet, helpful and didn't once bug us for Kellogg's Kavity-Krisps or Very Berry Fudge Pudding-Peels. They even managed to not paw through the cashier's chocolate bar display that conveniently begins one centimeter above the floor.

I guess you could do worse. Like take them to a cock fight, perhaps.



Aug 13, 2008

1-2-3-4... What the *!@# are S'mores?



One day in 1983, my buddy John Scott and I saw a commercial for the latest rectangular prisms of pure sugar granola bars. The jingle, if I recall correctly (and I always do), was "One-two-three-four... remember the taste of s'mores?" We watched it, paused for a second, looked at each other and said, "What the f*ck are s'mores?"

More than anything, we hated, hated that stupid, made-up word. It instantly evoked the image of a greedy fat kid with a thick smear of chocolate around his mouth - like some kind of inverse minstrel - screaming around a wad of marshmallow as clouds of graham cracker crumbs sprayed out of his pie-hole. Running a close second was the solid suspicion that we had been cheated out of some confection that the rest of the world had already forgotten about!

You see, we never went to camp. At least, not one where adults happily stuffed pre-teens with a triple-shot of carbohydrates before sending them off to the bunky. John and I went to "Cub camp" - which is to camp what "phone sex" is to sex. If ever someone invented a campfire treat called s'less, I'd put my money on Scouts Canada.

In any event, I can now proudly say that I do, in fact, remember the taste of s'mores. It seems like only yesterday, but it's going on two weeks ago now.

They're not bad, really; provided someone teaches you the right way to construct them - in this case, Michelle. Up until 2008, marshmallows served only two purposes in my life: waving them - ignited - around those who were actually enjoying themselves, and for treading upon in the morning, so that you had ash-covered goo on your foot up to 20 days later.

Here's what I also learned in the two weeks I was away with my family on vacation...
  • n+1= the amount of treats that will keep your kids happy on vacation (where n is the upper limit of what you are willing to distribute, even at gunpoint).
  • Brooks is an Anglo Saxon surname that derives from the Latin for "rainmaker". Sale comes from Old English. It means "lightning rod".
  • The ease of applying sunscreen to your back is inversely proportional to how many guys are around.
  • If "campfire fanning with no discernible effect" were an Olympic event, I would be writing from a podium in Beijing.
  • When playing Candyland or Chutes and Ladders* the best strategy is always: let the wookie win. (For those without children, this game was formerly the night terror-inducing "Snakes and Ladders".)
  • When your toddler is screaming in her stroller on a windy day at the beach, one need only walk 15 metres to nullify the effect. Crashing waves can take this down to a comfy 10.
  • My bed rocks. Everyone else's bed sucks.
Enjoy the rest of the summer. The Ex is almost here.

Kudos to Mr. Scott, btw, for revealing to me his favourite misunderstood lyric:
"I want to rock and roll all night, and probably every day."

Aug 11, 2008

My Badass Job.




Unsurprisingly, someone out there has a much better way of describing my job than I do.

P.S. what is this "booty" thing all the kids are talking about?

Jul 22, 2008

Impractical Jokes


I'm not into cerebral today, so you'll have to just go with it.
  1. Stick it to the homeless by putting foreign coins in the return slot of parking meters and phones.
  2. In a bad part of town, Krazy Glue a crack rock to a cop's gun. Yowza!
  3. Go to a fire house and squirt lighter fluid onto one of their trucks. When a fireman approaches, light it up and say, "How ironic, non?"
  4. Go to the Polish consulate and run around it several times with a lightbulb and... wait, I told it wrong.
  5. When you order pizza and they tell you "45 minutes or it's free", opt for free. 
  6. Go to the moon and erect a large monolith. Rig it up so that when an astronaut touches it, it farts.

P.S. Why is it even possible to make toast so dark.

Jul 9, 2008

Same Bat-channel, New Bat-address...



In case you were curious, I have changed venues for my job with Citytv. (It's not what you see above.)

FYFAQ

Where are you now?
Bathurst and Fleet St. – close to the Island Airport. You can call it the Omni building, if that helps you sleep at night.

I thought Citytv was going to be by the Eaton Centre.
Citytv’s main HQ is going to be at the current Olympic Spirit building at Dundas Square sometime in the future. This location is strictly for closers.

So, like... what do you do again?
Promos, baby. That’s a television commercial that implores you to watch something you don’t want to watch; especially when it’s on at a “special time”.

Where is Moses in all of this?
Couldn’t care less. Try Classical 96.

So you work for CTV?
Nope. Rogers.
CTV is the enemy. Rogers is for people who love to hear complaints about the price of iPhones - something that nobody should want to buy in the first place.

So you’re with CTV?
No.

Then who’s in the “Citytv Building” now?
Wall-to-wall CTV. They now own MuchMusic, Space and all the other doodads created by CHUM many years ago.

What’s CHUM?
Bloody fish guts that attract sharks and hostile takeovers.

When my food’s ready, why doesn’t my microwave stop beeping the moment I open the door? It must know that I have been sufficiently alerted. Also, why is there a button for chicken and meat?
Microwaves are astoundingly stupid.

So what’s it like working at CTV?
It rocks!

Jun 25, 2008

Neglected correspondence.


Dear Mazda,
Enough with the Zoom Zoom. The song sucks, the kid sucks, you suck.

Dear Campbells,
"M'm. M'm Good!" What's up with the apostrophes, bisque-for-brains?

Dear American Standard,
Would it be too much to ask for a urinal that doesn't reflect more urine than it takes in?

Dear Dora,
Ask as many questions as you like, my kids still aren't going to respond your televised image.

Dear Nestle,
Flavoured water. 'nuff said.

Dear Mr. Lucas,
Idea for Episode VII... Attack of the Script-Doctors.

Dear Canadian Tire guy,
Quit ignoring me like a weightlifter at Lilith Fair.

Dear Coors Light,
Having the "coldest beer" on the market does not reflect on your contribution to the process.

That is all.

Jun 23, 2008

Class Clown, R.I.P.


First Pryor, now Carlin.

I caught myself missing him when I heard the news this morning, until I realized that I already missed him yesterday.

Carlin and Pryor both died at what could easily be described as the nadir of their creative careers. I think Carlin would actually enjoy that - now that he has the benefit of a clear, third-party perspective. He sincerely began to despise the world - or more accurately, the people in it. More grievous a sin was the fact that he long ago traded 'funny' for puerile, demagogic ranting. It was like having Dennis Miller suddenly become a vapid Republican stooge. Oh wait...

And, hey... you think there's someone still doing time in Hell on the "meat rap"? If there is a Catholic God, He has spared no expense constructing a tenth circle for Carlin. It involves a three-piece suit; his agent, Jerry Falwell; and a big audience of silent crickets.

Do yourself a favour, listen to Class Clown, A Place for my Stuff, or FM & AM tonight. Vinyl, if you've got it.


"Shit, piss, fuck, cunt, cocksucker, motherfucker and tits."

Jun 12, 2008

A-B-C. Always Be Closing.


Fellow cottage-revelers, it's time to take stock of our summer. When I say "revelers", I mean those of us who have perfected the art of mortgage-free cottage living. (our charitable group is the Muskoka Organization for Opportunistic Cottage Habitation, or MOOCH.)

By autumn, you've either earned your wings as an esteemed guest or you've been blackballed for life. Let's assume the former. That means you have one opportunity left to seal the deal for next year. It's called "closing the cottage".

The good - and bad - news about this event is that there is some work involved. Good, because it's the only time of year you can even think about inviting yourself - under the guise of "offering to help". The bad news is, well... who wants to shingle an outhouse, right?

Remember Glengarry Glen Ross. "Always Be Closing". Closing involves a bunch of stuff that I won't bore you with. The owner usually sweats the important stuff - like water pipes and propane tanks - the botching of which could conceivably burn the place down or flood it some time in November. For better or worse, you'll be stuck with the mundane stuff.

Your other mantra should be: "What can I do before someone finds something for me to do?" Hey, there's no sense ducking the easy jobs if you're going to end up steam-cleaning the fish-gutting table by default. Personally, I hate vacuuming, so I'll plead migraine or tinnitus or something, and grab a can of WD-40, looking for squeaks in the boathouse. But whatever you pick, make sure it's visible or loud. That way, the owner will remember that you were busy as a beaver with ADHD.

Here's a better angle: take advantage of the guaranteed kudos involved with cooking a memorable meal. Many people close their cottage in October, so you might suggest a lakeside Thanksgiving dinner. The cottage Thanksgiving is win-win. It allows you to skip Aunt Ruby's turnip-rhubarb pie and instead, have a kegger with people who don't think Beyonce is a fabric softener.

Do ten minutes of Googling and put together a solid plan for a Sunday feast. Tip: don't trust any recipes from www.makeitwithbologna.com and avoid the chipotle chili-con-carnage you normally bring to the Guys Weekend. No one wants sleep in the same room as some gaseous gastronome who's going to be firing off bunkie-busters all night.

Bring all the ingredients and delegate side-dishes. The best part about cooking is that under Geneva convention, you're not required to clean up. After you've wowed everyone by barbecuing a 35-pound bird on a Heineken Mini Keg, guess who now gets to sip brandy by the fire as everyone else discovers there's no dishwasher?

Once you've taken the mantle of Kitchen King, you might notice increased respect from the opposite sex. This is a good thing. The late George Carlin once observed that people don't usually get any action on Thanksgiving - all the coats are on the bed. George obviously never hit an Ontario cottage in October. Cool air, warm beds and no grown-ups. Where do I sign?

Remember, closing a cottage is kind of like closing a bar. It's a fun milestone to enjoy with your friends, but when the clock chimes, they really just want you to go home. Find your date and try to leave before the lights come on.

Jun 10, 2008

Peta-Pocket.


Roadrunner, the U.S. supercomputer, is the newest, fastest guy on the block. (Try to contain your shock, but it belongs to the military.)

It can crank out 1.026 Petaflops, covers 12,000 square feet, and has Linux under the hood.

[Note: a Petaflop should not be confused with a PETAflop - which is what occurs when the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals stage a Broadway musical so offensive, even Brigitte Bardot wants to smack them with a softball bat.]

Roadrunner is invulnerable to all Acme products and should - under no circumstances - be asked if it wants to play Global Thermonuclear War.

Jun 6, 2008

Lord of the Pogie


I was watching So You Think You Can Dance? against my will last night, and as entertained as I was, I think the real question is:

So You Think You Can Make Any Money Whatsoever Being a Professional Dancer, Ever... Even If You Win?

Math Exercise 
(please show work):

Take the average income of the top five contestants in any season of American Idol...
...divide that by the number of times you were beat up in high school.
...subtract the number of times you've watched Cabaret and Chicago.
...multiply by total income (in cents) as busking break-dancer in front of Eaton Centre.
Now, multiply that by the square root of bupkis and add one dollar.

Jillian... Ryan... Daddy's talking, here.
Earrings, tattoos, pierced cerebellum, anything but dancing, I implore you. 
(and stand-up comedy)

Jun 2, 2008

That which is overrated.


  1. The original, "Japanese version" of The Ring. Love it or leave it, pal. Besides, subtitles in a horror movie are about as distracting as live colour commentary during sex.
  2. Hybrid vehicles. Call me crazy, but putting another shiny new car on the road sounds suspiciously un-green. Concerned about emissions? How 'bout easing off on the the lentils, Hempy McVegan.
  3. Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of Krappy Kliches. Starts with Indy surviving a nuclear bomb. Ends with a flying saucer. Everything in between is implausible.
  4. Spoiler alerts.
  5. Stella Artois. Sure it's tasty, but anything that proudly traces its European roots to the outbreak of the Black Death can't possibly be a good idea. Also, Belgium sucks.
  6. The Sports Page. Not unless the newspaper had a daily section on D&D hit-point analysis, could this be less relevant to my life.
  7. Any Mars mission that doesn't involve Sharon Stone in spandex. Okay. Once more with feeling: Sand? Check. Rocks? Check. Hmmm... have we looked for sand yet? (Hint: If you want to spend a lot of money looking futilely for free water, try a restaurant in Toronto.)
  8. Expensive wine. Here's a conversation beer-drinkers have never had: "Say, this is nice." "Yes, it is, isn't it. Andrea and I were on this brewery tour in Ancaster and we just fell in love with it. We're having custom bottles at our wedding."
  9. GPS. In my heart, I know this is unavoidably cool technology, but seriously - do I really need two voices telling me to get into the right lane?
  10. Blog rants that are arbitrarily listed in tens.

May 28, 2008

Science proves it: Nice people exist.


A cathartic diary-bookend to last week's run-in with small-time hood/brothel-bouncer "Jack":

My address allows me a great luxury: biking to work on the Mark Goodson/Bill Todman trail - twice a week, if I can help it. There is a slight kink in the route, though. Coming west, at Park Lawn, you need to take a left on Lake Shore Blvd. W. (The alternative is continuing another 200m on the path into a strange condominium cul-du-sac/mobius loop.)

The kink in the kink is that turning left on LSBW is impossible if no car is along for the ride - your bike won't trip the sensor. So sometimes I cheat by riding the sidewalk until I can bolt onto the road like that jagoff cyclist we love to hate.

While aggressively navigating the sidewalk yesterday, I'm cut off by a Honda that blasts out of Marina Del Ray and stops right in my path. I brake suddenly (but easily) and give him the mockingly polite "after you, my liege" arm extension.

Dude rolls down his window and says, "Sorry, man. That was bad form."

"No problem", I reply with complete sincerity. "I really shouldn't be riding on the sidewalk."

"Oh man, I do that all the time around here. Kinda have to. Anyway, have a great day. Sorry bout that," says he.

"Don't worry about it. Take it easy."

I smile all the way home. It helped that his son was in the back seat.

May 27, 2008

Complaining is a spectator sport.



  • New rule: no more Anus Angus Burgers. I was a picosecond away from Wiki-ing this, but the truth is, I actually don't care what Angus means. Unless the patty is wearing a school uniform and bobbing its head like a yes-man with Parkinson's, I'm not buying it. If Wendy and Harvey McDonald think we are fooled by this for one minute, they should probably fast-track their heirloom tomato ketchup.
  • Hey, bike courier guy who balances for minutes at a stretch at red lights... We're all very impressed. Now see if you can't balance a real career in there.
  • Hey, otherwise normal cycling guy in the city. You're not in a race, and have never been sponsored by those companies on your shirt. Quit trying to look like a stock-car and wear some real clothes. While you're at it, give that wiener-wrap a rest, Pants Armstrong.
  • Drivers... if you cut me off, here's your choice: give me the wave, or get far away from me and my family. If you're a real sport, you'll flush that cop out of the next trap for me, too.
  • CD jewel-case inventor: I hope you are dipped in beef stock and chased by pit bulls into an active volcano.
  • Memo to streetcar drivers: buy donuts before your shift, and quit complaining about how "stressful" your job is. You don't need to be a red-rocket scientist to press a pedal without steering.
  • Russell Oliver: I pledge you my father's family ring, made from the gold in his grandfather's mine if you put a frackin' sock in it for one calendar year.

Always a classic...

Call me lazy, but I'm not going to come up with anything funnier than this today.
Have a good one.

May 23, 2008

Momentary Time Lapse of Reason.


Question: What side of "fight or flight" does "piss your pants while unable to move" fit into?

(I'll interject by saying this is one of those "diary" entries that I hate to employ, and totally forgive you for avoiding it like it were Hannah Montana III: the Ice Musical.)

Scene 1
INT: foyer of modest two-storey home, New Toronto.
Photo-weenie (ME) packs up time-lapse photo gear and kisses WIFE at the door.

WIFE
Be safe!

ME
See you soon. I've got my phone.

C/U: wallet on banister, as door closes.

Scene 2
EXT: gas station, Magic Hour is approaching.
ME fills car (pays cash) and drives west, enabling a drive into the city with back to the sun.

Scene 3
EXT: forlorn gas station on dodgy side of Etobicoke. Car is parked in empty lot, facing really crappy strip mall.

ME fiddles with camera, clamps and intervalometer, affixing all to roof-rack of Santa Fe with straps, gaffer tape, and combination lock for good measure.

POV: really crappy strip mall, centred in viewfinder of expensive camera. Sun is beginning to paint the Toronto skyline a colour that is seen maybe three times a year.

A tough Italian HOOD, mid-thirties, approaches menacingly. His face says whatareyoufuckinlookinat.

HOOD
Hey, what are you doing?

ME
Hi, how are you?

HOOD
What's going on?

ME
Sorry?

HOOD
Whuddya doin' with that camera?

ME
Oh, nothing.

ME sighs, mentally preparing the obligatory "here's how time-lapse video works" speech that is next.

HOOD
Seriously. What are you doing with that camera. Why are you taking pictures here?

HOOD's face is now 10 inches from ME. HOOD is not nervous, has not smiled once, and is unconcerned that he has no backup. ME looks around casually and realizes that the closest witness might be 300 yards away, if he were visible.

ME
I'm shooting some time lapse video. It's where...

HOOD
You have any ID?

ME
(semi-indignantly; he knows his "rights")
No. Why?
(smiles inwardly at thought of wallet safe on banister.)
I'm with Citytv.

HOOD is not impressed. He is, however, more confused and more pissed now.
ME fumbles at camera bag for only business card he has ever been asked for in 12 years. Finds one.

ME
(smiling) This doesn't prove I'm me, but here you go.

As he hands over card, ME realizes the combination to his camera's combination lock is written on the back of it.

ME
Actually, can I have that back? That one's no good.

HOOD pulls card farther away. His suspicion and pissed-ness are somehow multiplied.

HOOD
Why are you shooting that club? (gestures to really crappy strip mall)

ME
Actually, I'm shooting the highway. You see, with the shutter at about 2 seconds on shutter-priority, you get this nice blur that...

HOOD
(cannot believe how stupid and wimpy ME is)
That the thing Frankie Flowers does in the morning on the way to BT?

ME
No... I don't know.

HOOD
You don't... it's your station!

ME
I don't get up that early. Sorry. I should have introduced myself. My name's Jeremy. You are...

HOOD
(beat) Jack.

ME
Funny, that's... nevermind. Is everything okay? (gestures toward mall)

HOOD
(confides) Let me tell you something. You see that studio over there? Lexa?

ME smiles, looks desperately toward a photo studio that he has never heard of. There is definitely no photo studio; only a big black window that says Lexa Studio in a shitty font,

HOOD
Men go there to cheat on their wives. They don't get too excited about having their pictures taken. These are the kind of guys that have no problem serving 1 or 3 months for breaking some guy's jaw who took a picture of them. No problem at all.

ME
Oh man. sorry bout that. I getcha. I'll uh... be finished in a second. Wow. Should I just flip this around 180, or...?

HOOD
(matter-of-fact, not shouting) Just get the fuck outta here.

HOOD walks away and scrutinizes business card.
ME gets the fuck outta there.

Scene 4
EXT: other side of gas station
ME pulls around to other side of gas station, quickly checks clamps and combination lock.

ASTOUNDINGLY FAT COUPLE walks by

ASTOUNDINGLY FAT GUY
Hey, why do you have a lock on that?

ME
Because 'Murphy' was an optimist.

Car pulls out of lot at pretty good speed, without screeching. Sun has set. Magic Hour is way over. Long shutter speed now unnecessary since blur effect can now be derived solely from speed of car as it approaches on-ramp.

FADE TO BLACK

(ver-fucking-batum)

May 20, 2008

Things that make me rap my head on the closest solid surface.



  1. Clicking on a link that - after an excruciatingly long wait - opens a big fat PDF in Acrobat. I keeel you!
  2. "Please leave your message at the sound of the tone." The sound of the tone? Why stop there, Capt. Redundant? "If you don't mind, and the spirit moves you, please feel free to speak a spoken audio speech upon registering the analogue rendition of the digital sound of the re-creation of the tone which you'll hear."
  3. As much as I like them, there is something very Nanny State about pedestrian countdown timers. First there was the red light, then there was the yellow light warning us that the red light was coming. Now we have a warning that the warning is coming. Hey, Elmer. Is it too much to ask for a reminder that the countdown is imminent?
  4. Post commercial-break "updates" that bring you up to speed on things that happened two minutes ago! Has our collective ADHD really come to this? And what's up with pedestrian countdown timers?
  5. Supermodels who have an opinion on anything other than which cigarettes curb your appetite the hardest. Also... can you really be considered a Top Model if five seconds after the finale you're more ignored than tea at Burger King?
  6. Fine print in car ads. Yeah, we get it. We're being screwed like plywood before a hurricane.
  7. Why show a "professional driver on a closed course" if no one's allowed to drive like that, ever? Can recruiting ads show coke-snorting Marines at an Amsterdam whorehouse? Cause I'm guessing they'd meet their quotas.
  8. Dog tricks. Unless you can get your dog to play undead, just keep him in the backyard, Skippy.
  9. Birth announcement quantities. 8lbs. 3oz., 7:18 AM, 54 cm, 5200 mL, 98.6 degrees F, 52.9 mili-Coulombs of electrostatic charge... Newsflash... guys want to know one thing: Is it mine?
  10. Unplanned pregnancies.

May 12, 2008

Television Sins.


Although it has nurtured me for 39 years, and I dearly love my job as a promo producer, it's time to admit a brutal truth...

TV must die.

If only the TV that's in my house.

Why does TV suck? The thing is, television is kicking major ass right now. If you have a decent cable package, there are more killer programs to be found than there are hours in which to watch them. Remember, there was a time when Happy Days was probably the best thing on TV.

The problem is... TV literally sucks. It sucks us into its maw every night, through the technological glory that is cable, TiVo and DVD. And if you have Blu-Ray, you've just cranked the suction to Debbie Does Dallas. There is chrome coming off a trailer-hitch somewhere.

So if the programming is fine, what is the problem? I don't know... might be the drones sitting on their ever-widening asses in front of it. We blame TV for our being fat and our kids being mouthy and inattentive. Won't somebody tell us what to do?

Someone - I can't remember who - once inflicted favoured the world with his Ten Commandments of Television. They're listed below.

The first thing you'll notice is that they really aren't commandments at all. They're more like beatitudes - blessed are the geeks, blessed are the news-makers, etc... It makes you glad the author's first name wasn't Jesus, otherwise we'd have the "Sermon on the Dish".

To be fair, a couple of these "commandments" are worth chewing on, but - like the original Decalogue - many are redundant, anachronistic, and redundant.

With apologies to copyright:
  1. Television is the triumph of the image over the printed word.
  2. Print created illiteracy. Television is democratic, everybody gets it.
  3. The true nature of television is flow, not show. Process, not conclusion.
  4. As worldwide television expands, the demand for local programming increases.
  5. The best TV tells me what happened to me, today.
  6. TV is as much about the people bringing you the story as the story itself.
  7. In the past, TV’s chief operating skill was political. In the future it will be – it will have to be, mastery of the craft itself.
  8. TV creates immediate consensus, subject to immediate change.
  9. There never was a mass audience, except by compulsion.
  10. Television is not a problem to be managed, but an instrument to be played.
A little cryptic and somewhat - how do I put this delicately - full of shit. (There's also that nagging sense that someone was sitting in front of his typewriter for a very long time, nursing a bottle of Louis XIII and trying to coax the list into an "even ten".)

So let's grab a pair, and demand some action from up here on Mount Sinai. We may not be able to change much, but we can always start with the minutia - real commandments to the people on TV and to those of us who waste our lives watching them:
  1. TV-children shalt not wear Halloween costumes that cost $900.
  2. Thou shalt stop using an answering machine with a cassette tape. That is an abomination.
  3. Thou shalt always remember thy Miranda rights and note that they are not applicable in Canada.
  4. TV-women shalt not go into labour in a way that is completely unexpected and totally debilitating.
  5. Thou shalt have no TVs before thy children, lest thou need to seriously clean thine house.
  6. Thou shalt not pester me to start watching thy show, even if thy show is The Wire.
  7. Remember thine Hockey Night in Canada, and keep it holy.
  8. Thou shalt not pirate thy cable, lest thou shalt get me in on some HBO.
  9. Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour's 52" Aquos HD1080.
  10. Honour thy father and mother by admitting that they let you watch Love Boat and Fantasy Island well after thy bedtime.
Note: Unlike either Moses, I want to hear your commandments, too.